The Telegraph
Wednesday , March 26 , 2014
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Terrorist arrest relief before polls

Patna, March 25: The arrest of Indian Mujahideen (IM) country operational head Tahseen Akhtar alias Monu by the Delhi police’s special cell today has come as a relief for the state administration, which has been cautioned against terror attack during the upcoming general elections.

Tahseen (23), a resident of Maniarpur village under the jurisdiction of the Kalyanpur police station in Samastipur district, is the mastermind behind last year’s two serial bomb blasts in Bodhgaya (July 7) and Patna (October 27).

Tahseen has been picked up just two days after the arrest of expert bomb maker and Pakistani national Ziaur Rehman alias Waqas from Ajmer in Rajasthan.

Tahseen, who along with his mentor Mohammad Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal, had set up the IM’s Ranchi module for carrying out both the terror attacks.

The intelligence bureau (IB) is learnt to have alerted the police top brass against the IM’s strategy to carry out “suicide attacks” to eliminate some influential political party leaders during the six-phase polls in the state.

On the other hand, the state’s newly formed anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has decided to quiz Tahseen, who was arrested from the Nepal border. “We are planning to send a team to Delhi to interrogate the alleged IM operative,” said ATS chief Paresh Saxena.

Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj said Tahseen would be taken on police remand to ascertain his role in the Patna serial blasts. “A police team would leave with production warrant soon. We want his remand within a week,” he added.

Police sources said Imtiaz Ansari, arrested from Patna Junction on the day of the blasts, revealed the involvement of Tahseen and Waqas in the blasts. “Imtiaz told the police that both Monu and Waqas were present at the Gandhi Maidan during the blasts,” an investigating officer said.

The arrest of both Tahseen and Waqas assumes significance in the wake of a recent visit of a Nepal police team headed by inspector-general Upendra Kantha Aryal. Aryal, as part of his six-day tour, had met senior police and IB officers besides officials of the home ministry in the first week of March. A senior IPS officer attributed the reason of the recent successes, including arrest of the IM’s co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and his associates Asadullah alias Haddi to better coordination between the police officers of the two neighbouring countries. Bhatkal and Haddi were apprehended from Raxaul in August last year.

Sources said Tahseen and Waqas had earlier managed to give the slip to a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which carried out frequent raids in Muzaffarpur district in the aftermath of Patna blasts. Both the arrested IM operatives had reportedly taken shelter at a public school near Ganj Bazar under the jurisdiction of Minapur police station in Muzaffarpur district.

An NIA officer said Tahseen and Waqas were employed as teachers at the school, around 20km northwest of Muzaffarpur town.

They had also stayed for about a month in a private lodge at Amrud Bagan in Chandwara locality of Muzaffarpur, he said, adding: “The duo introduced themselves as Motihari residents. We also seized some documents during the search of the school but they could not be arrested.”

After the arrest of the two top IM leaders, the NIA has stepped up its surveillance on other members of the group, especially Haider Ali, a resident of Aurangabad district.

“After the arrest of Tahseen, Ali might be given the command of the group,” the officer said.